Higby and Dottie are rescue whippets owned by day care services manager Grant Newton. 

They work up to five days a week in our clubs, where they provide a calming and normalising presence. As well as the tactile experience of stroking, the animals spark memories and group conversations. They bring much joy to those who once had the companionship of dogs but are now denied it through illness and advancing age. And just by being themselves, Higby and Dottie can help new members to gain confidence and integrate. Some members spend their first couple of sessions just talking to the dogs! They are sometimes joined by Dave, one of our original therapy whippets who retired this summer after eight years' service in Alzheimer's Support's day clubs.

There is a growing academic interest in the therapeutic benefits of animal-assisted activities in dementia care. University of Bath research fellow Caroline Hickman is working with our day club team to investigate how interaction with the dogs is supporting people to integrate with their environment and socially. Research project summary

Higby, Dottie and Dave often feature in our regular dayclub phototography sessions. The resulting photos are often treasured by families. To see more of these click here or sign up to our Facebook page where we post new photos regularly.

  Chris and Higby 

  
Video - Introducing Dottie